Cold weather has arrived for most of us! Now is the time to take simple precautions if you plan to be outside in the cold for an extended amount of time to help prevent getting frostbite.
What is frostbite?
“Injury to body tissues caused by exposure to extreme cold, typically affecting the nose, fingers, or toes and sometimes resulting in gangrene.”
How to prevent frostbite:
- Wear warm clothing when going out in the cold
- Dress in layers (you can always take a layer off if you get too warm)
- Wear mittens or gloves (preferably mittens, because your fingers/hand will stay warmer in a mitten)
- Wear socks (wear wool or thick socks if you plan to be outside for a long period of time)
- Wear a hat that covers your ears
- Limit your time outside (if you can), especially if it is extremely cold, wet, or windy
- Watch for signs of frostbite early!
If you have to be outside in the cold for work or other reasons, follow all of these precautions and always keep moving to keep your blood flowing.
Symptoms of frostbite:
- Loss of feeling/numbness in the affected body part
- Firm, pale, cold skin
- Red, white or grayish waxy skin
How to treat frostbite?
- Call EMS or get the person to a hospital
- Seek warm shelter
- Remove any wet, cold clothing
- Remove jewelry from the affected area
- Do not rub or massage the blistered/affected area
- Place pieces of cloth between the affected fingers/toes to prevent them from sticking together
- Keep the affected area protected by wrapping with a towel
Want to learn more? Schedule a First Aid class with us and learn more about frostbite, hypothermia, and other environment emergencies!